• Remodeled bathroom by Beth Bynon
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    The Role of Interior Designers and General Contractors in Your Home Remodel

The Role of Interior Designers and General Contractors in Your Home Remodel

Caleb and Rita Summers have both recently retired, and Rita is itching to remodel and redesign their small, outdated kitchen. She dreams of having her large family over for weekly dinners and inviting friends over for the book club she just started. She knows that she will have to hire both an interior designer and a general contractor, but this is her first major remodel. The Summers have no idea what is in the purview of the general contractor and what the interior designer handles. Should they hire a contractor first to do all the heavy lifting and then the interior designer to add a coat of paint and curtains?

The Summers are not alone! A homeowner’s first remodel can be confusing, especially when it comes to hiring both an interior designer and a general contractor. In this article, I’ll explain what each professional does and how they work together to transform your home!

General Contractor vs. Interior Designer

There is some overlap between the capabilities of a general contractor and an interior designer, but generally, a general contractor builds and an interior designer designs. Typically, you will bring on an interior designer first, because he or she will help you lay out your new room and determine all the different finishes to use.

For example, an interior designer like myself will help Rita and Caleb determine if they want to knock down a wall to open up their kitchen, add in recessed lighting, install an island in the kitchen for more food prep space, and add in large bay windows to enhance the view. The interior designer may also help the couple choose new flooring, new cabinets, new countertops, and, yes, new paint colors.

Once the overall design [...]

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    Permalink Finding a quality contractor can be hard! Credit: Brock Builders, FlickrGallery

    Working With Contractors – Smart Homeowners Need to Ask These Five Questions

Working With Contractors – Smart Homeowners Need to Ask These Five Questions

Interior design often goes hand-in-hand with home remodeling. Homeowners who are already investing in a new interior design will often take the plunge and go for the total transformation that requires some remodeling. Many of the clients I work with have never done a major remodel of their home before. The process of finding an honest, high-quality, and reasonably priced contractor can be difficult and/or confusing. That is why I always suggest that my clients reach out to several remodeling contractors and ask each one these important five questions:

When will you be available to start?

Many contractors cannot start on a project right away. In fact, it’s not unusual for smaller firms to be backed up for months. It is not necessarily a bad thing if a remodeler has a long wait time. It means they are popular! However, if you have a specific timeline in mind, you may need to reach out to larger firms that employ several crews.


How long will my project take?

Don’t expect an exact end date for your project before all the details are finalized. However, your remodeler should be able to give you an approximate timeframe for the project after doing a home review and getting a sense of the scope of your project. Smaller remodeling companies will likely take longer to complete the project. Beware if a company gives you a suspiciously short timeline. They may be trying to win the project by creating unrealistic expectations.


Can you help me understand all the details of your quote?

Trying to compare price quotes between contractors can be hopelessly confusing. The quotes from some companies can fit on a napkin, while other companies practically hand you a thesis paper. Make sure you understand [...]

Five Tips To Choosing The Right Finishes In Your Remodeled Home

As an interior designer, one of my favorite parts of the design process is sitting down with a client and helping them pick out the different finishes for their kitchen, bath, or full home remodel. Sometimes it can be like letting a kid loose into a candy store. In other instance, a client may feel a little stressed. If you’ve ever walked through a Home Depot and looked at a seemingly endless row of door knobs, you can understand how making a decision on all the different finishes of a room or a home can feel overwhelming. During a remodel, a homeowner may have to choose dozens of different finishes, including doors, molding, flooring, lighting, cabinets, countertops, appliance…and even doorknobs. The homeowner has thousands of different options to choose from in every category.

So, how can you be the happy kid in a candy store and make the right finishing decisions? Here are five tips to help you pick the perfect home remodel finishes:

1.       Start With A Plan

Your finishes don’t just exist in a void. In a well-designed home, every finish contributes to a larger design scheme. When I work with clients, the very first thing I do is get to know them, so I can get a sense of their own unique style. Am I working with a power couple that wants a sleek and simple home or a retired couple that wants something warm, welcoming, and more traditional? I call this my Lifestyle Design approach. When I “get” my clients, I can propose a plan for the home that will naturally eliminate a lot of finish choices that don’t fit who my clients are.

2.       Figure Out What You Love

The easiest way to get [...]

Interior Design For The Eco-Friendly Home

We are each members of the global community, and our actions have a cumulative effect on our planet. Many Californians strongly feel that they have a responsibility to conserve resources and protect the environment for future generations. I love this attitude and believe that conservation and abundance are not mutually exclusive. With the right choices, you can invite beauty and comfort into your home and your life in an environmentally friendly way. Many clients and close friends ask me for eco-conscious interior design tips.

Luckily, it’s easier than ever to be a good steward of the planet while also embracing luxury and beauty in your home. Here are the three most powerful tools I use when I design green: Use Sustainable Materials Certain building materials require a lot of energy to harvest, grow back slowly or not at all, and don’t break down well after use. Eco-conscious homeowners want to avoid these types of building materials and instead use materials in their homes that are easy to harvest, grow back quickly, and break down easily after use.

One of the most popular ways to use sustainable materials is for the flooring in your home. Wood is a popular sustainable choice, because new trees can always be planted to grow in place of the old. Additionally, the carbon that trees absorb as they grow stays in the wood when it is used as flooring. Wood can also easily be reused at the end of its lifecycle.

Two other very popular sustainable flooring choices are bamboo flooring and cork flooring. Bamboo grows extremely fast and is naturally water-resistant and durable. If you do choose bamboo flooring, make sure it uses natural base adhesives instead of formaldehyde. Cork is made by [...]

Color Your House Gorgeous – How The Colors Of Your Walls Affect The Mood Of Your Room

We all intuitively understand the power of colors to affect mood. That’s why we use words like “soothing” and “calm” to describe soft purples and cool blues and words like “hot” and “energetic” to describe bright yellows and vibrant reds.
The colors you choose for the walls in each room of your home will, in a large way, influence the mood of the room and guide the rest of the design. Wall color is a big decision to make, so let’s review the different affects certain colors convey:
Red is a very bold and powerful color. It is aggressive, stimulating, and even a little erotic depending on the shade. There is a reason that red is used in stop signs and stop lights. It is highly visible and naturally draws the eye. Due to its strength and intensity, red is best used as an accent color. You might consider placing one piece of red furniture in the room to make a statement or painting an accent wall red if you want a bold and energetic mood in that space.
White is the color of purity. White walls can feel either calming or blank depending on what else is in the room. Sometimes, white walls look unfinished, like a blank canvas waiting for some colors. They may also be difficult to maintain if you have small children or pets in the house. However, white walls may be a good choice is you want to focus attention on other areas of the room. If you hang expressive artwork or fill the room with beautiful furniture, white walls won’t compete for attention and will naturally guide eyes to the more colorful pieces.
Many homeowners choose [...]

Is Your Family About To Expand? How To Update Your Interior Design For Baby!

If your refrigerator is decorated in sonograms of a growing kidney-shaped blur, then congratulations! Your life is about to change in a big, magical, and messy way. There’s a lot to prepare for when you’re expecting, but don’t forget to take a long look at your home and consider if an interior design update is in order. Just as your lives will be changing with the entrance of Baby, your home will need to change as well. Better tackle the project now when you have adequate sleep and energy than on the fly during the busy years down the road. Here are a few interior design changes to consider before Baby arrives: Simplify Your Home

A newborn demands a lot of attention and care, and as soon as the little tyke begins crawling, the real fun begins. During those first few years, you will probably lose many hours that you previously devoted to sleep, hobbies, and keeping your home in perfect order. If you have a high-maintenance interior design, now is the time to simplify. Consider getting rid of extra décor items that have to be regularly arranged or any items that need a lot of cleaning and nurturing. You want an interior design that will virtually “self-operate” so you can focus on more important things. That might mean investing in darker colored carpet or furniture that can hide a little dust and dirt until you have time to pull out the vacuum. Also, accept the fact that…Stains Are Going to Happen

Juice cups will fall. Dirty hands will grab the couch. Bodily functions may not always be caught by diapers. Finicky fabrics will not survive long with a baby in the house. Consider a durable, [...]

Five Reasons Your Home Needs A Redesign

You love your home, but something just doesn’t feel right. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you feel dissatisfied with the way your home looks. A part of you wants to rush out to the Home Depot, buy a bucket of paint (any color will do), and splash it on the walls just for something new.

You, my friend, are in serious need of a home interior redesign. This sudden itch for something new can have a variety of causes. Here are the most common reasons homeowners need a redesign:

Lack of Flow and Purpose

If you have never felt the design muse gift you with inspiration, you are not alone. Many homeowners decorate their home without a grand design vision or a cohesive style. They decorate haphazardly, like putting your favorite shirt, jeans, and shoes – without considering whether any single piece matches the other.

This approach will almost always lead to a style that lacks flow and purpose. Don’t feel bad if your house lacks flow. Most new homeowners struggle with this issue. If you need help defining your personal style, or simply don’t have the time or inclination, consider hiring a professional interior designer.

Boring Design  / Old Design

It’s easy to simply get bored with the way your home looks, especially if you haven’t changed anything in years. I suggest redesigning a room with timeless elements that won’t go out of style. Simple is better. When you start to feel bored with the way your room looks, change out the accessories, like faucets on the sinks, knobs on the cabinet, or artwork on the wall. These items usually don’t cost a lot, but they can quickly give your room a whole new look!

Changes [...]

What Does An Interior Designer Do?

If you’re hesitant about hiring an interior designer, it may be because you’re not sure what we even do. You know what you want your home to look like, so can’t you do everything a designer can do? Believe it or not, there’s a lot that goes into creating a new look for your home. Interior designers wear a lot of hats, and artistic creation is just the beginning!

The Art

When you hear the term “Interior Designer,” what immediately comes to mind? If you’re like many people, you picture a designer choosing and arranging furniture, sorting through paint and fabric swatches, and strolling through your home dreaming up possibilities. This picture is a very good start. A designer’s first job is to help you and your family come up with a concept for making your home beautiful, functional, and unique. We spend time in your home taking measurements and understanding the way you live and move in your space. We also scour the world for the newest and best furniture, art, fabric, paint, flooring, and anything else that goes into a great design. But all this is just the beginning!

The Science

After working with you to develop a concept, a designer’s real work begins. It’s all very well and good to point you in the direction of a great sofa or the perfect lighting fixture, but we don’t stop there. We actually make sure it will work for you and in your home. Creating detailed and accurate renderings are crucial for making sure each space has everything you need without feeling overwhelming or crowded. Full color visuals also help make sure you know exactly what you’re getting before even one tile or of paint can crosses [...]